Heritage Lottery Fund success

Heritage Lottery Fund awards Chester Voluntary Action £9,900 to mark First World War Centenary

Chester Voluntary Action (CVA) has been awarded a grant of £9,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund through the First World War: Then and Now programme for their project ‘Voluntary Action on the Home Front in Chester: The History and Legacy’. The funding will enable CVA to research and preserve the previously untold and important story of its origins. Set up days after the outbreak of WW1 as the ‘Council of Social Welfare’ it coordinated the provision of vital assistance on the home front by providing relief aid and support to families and those in need affected by the war.

Marking the centenary of both the First World War and the establishment of CVA, the project will shine a light on this important wartime creation and the significant contribution made by local charities to support families whose main breadwinner was away in the services, wounded or killed, and those affected by unemployment arising from the disruption of trade.

Volunteers from local history groups, the University of Chester, and the Queens school will be undertaking a research project supported by Jonathan Pepler a former Cheshire County Archivist to document and preserve the history and legacy of CVA. Volunteers will access documents and records such as Annual Reports, case studies, relief applications, newspaper articles and photographs available at Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, Chester History and Heritage Centre, Keele University and Chester library. The volunteers will also be trained in taking oral histories and will interview a range of people who have played a significant role in CVA’s history over the past 40 years.

Once completed, the research will be captured and conserved in a ‘commemorative’ brochure, and a range of mobile display materials which will be widely distributed and promoted to raise awareness of the significant contribution made by local charities to the war effort on the home front and the legacy which continues today, and also highlight some of the tragic stories of people adversely affected by the War.

The research project will be showcased at a large commemorative event at Chester Town Hall in August hosted by Lord Mayor Elect Councillor Bob Rudd. The event will celebrate CVA’s centenary and to pay special tribute to all the volunteers past and present who have made such a significant and enduring contribution to the local community.

Commenting on the award, Carol Berry CVA’s Chief Officer said: “We are highly delighted to have received this support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and are looking forwards to exploring our past especially our role during WWI, and discovering more about how we contributed to and helped shape the development of many of the local charities and social services which continue to be provided today”